Located on the northern peninsula of Dublin Bay, Howth is a charming and beautiful location that's popular for travellers. With its history as a fishing village and its stunning views of the Irish Sea, Howth combines relaxation, sightseeing and excellent dining. Take a look at the top things to do in Dublin's Howth.
Howth Castle is a must-see attraction during a trip to Howth. Once the ancestral home of the St Lawrence family, the castle has been around since the 12th century. The estate's grounds include Howth Head and its extensive heathland, as well as the cliff walks that offer beautiful views of Dublin Bay and Ireland's Eye. There's a lot to see and enjoy around the castle, such as golf, footgolf, pitch and putt, formal gardens, a pond and nature walks. You could also stroll through one of the continent's largest rhododendron gardens and explore the National Transport Museum of Ireland, both of which are on the castle's grounds.
If you want to get out and explore a little, you can take a boat cruise to Ireland's Eye. Ireland's Eye is a small, uninhabited island north of Howth Harbour. Established in 700 AD, the island was once home to a monastery and boasts the penning of the Garland of Howth, which is now preserved at Trinity College Dublin. There's a lot to see on the island, including the ruins of the Martello Towers, a set of small defensive forts used during the French Revolutionary Wars, and an 8th-century church, as well as a bird sanctuary with all types of seabirds.
If you want to get out and see the neighbourhood, the East Pier of Howth Harbour is the perfect spot. The area is filled with restaurants serving delicious seafood and pubs with live entertainment. You'll also find the historic Harbour Lighthouse, a 19th-century lighthouse with a Georgian-style keepers' residence. From the vantage point of the lighthouse grounds, you can see spectacular views of Lambay Island and Ireland's Eye.
The Howth cliff walk is the best place to spend some time enjoying nature and taking in the stunning views of the peninsula. The trail is well-marked and spans about 3.7 miles with no hazardous or challenging areas, making it perfect for all ages and skill levels. It's easy to complete in a few hours, and you can take pictures of the rugged coastal cliffs and wildlife such as seals and seabirds. The trail begins at the Howth Train Station and is marked by green arrows on white signs.
Baily Lighthouse is another of Howth's historic lighthouses. Located on Howth Head near Dublin Port, the cottage-style lighthouse is perched on the cliffs above the Irish Sea. The lighthouse is still active and has a resident keeper, but you can see the grounds from nearby places and take excellent photos.
Howth Village is a quaint area of the neighbourhood that's perfect for sightseeing and shopping. This area is one of the most traditional, down to the harbour packed with boats and seafood shops. You can spend time strolling through the streets to check out the shops, or stop in a restaurant or cafe for a pint and some fish and chips.
St Mary's Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey built on the previous site of the first church in Dublin. Built in the 11th century by King Sitric, the Viking king of Dublin, the church was replaced by the abbey and aligned with the monastery on Ireland's Eye. It was once one of the largest and most important monasteries in all of Ireland, but now all that remains is the Chapter House and the Slype. When you tour the abbey, you can see exhibitions that showcase its unique history and value to Dublin society and culture.
The Howth Market is one of the city's most exciting spots on the weekend. Located near the harbour, the market features dozens of stalls with all types of produce, baked goods, antiques, clothing, jewellery, handicrafts and gifts. There are 4 permanent retail shops near the market entrance as well that sell deli produce, artisan coffee and homemade sweets and gelato. This is the ideal place to find a unique gift to bring home with you. Nearby, you'll find scenic walks, restaurants and other shops for more sightseeing.
If you're looking for something quirky on your trip, be sure to stop in Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio. The museum features telecommunications artefacts that span the history of radio and boasts a massive collection of vintage radios and memorabilia. You'll see all manner of communication artefacts and historical exhibitions, including early televisions, gramophones and records. The Morse code-based amateur radio station EI0MAR also operates from the museum.
From its charming restaurants and shops to its unique historic sites and museums, Howth has something for everyone. If you're planning a trip, take a look at Expedia to find deals on Howth hotels and learn about more things to do in Dublin to get ready for your seaside break!